Semifinal showdown set for Red Devils

Semifinal showdown set for Red Devils

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Semifinal showdown set for Red Devils

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The Red Devils get the Red Devils.

Richmond set up a semifinal showdown with Jeffersonville — and an all-ranked round of semifinals — for today’s finale for the Bob Wettig Tournament.

Richmond advanced with an overwhelming 69-39 victory Friday over Floyd Central, capping Day 2 of the annual boys basketball tournament at Tiernan Center.

The final four features four teams ranked in Class 4A’s Associated Press poll. Ninth-ranked Fort Wayne North faces No. 10 Columbus North at 11:30 a.m., followed by No. 7 Richmond vs. No. 16 Jeffersonville — a double dose of Red Devils — at 1 p.m.

“I think it’s going to be a good experience and good for our team,” said RHS junior Isaiah Rader, whose hustle play off the bench sparked the Red Devil defense on Friday. “It’s something good to witness, and hopefully we win.

“It’s exciting for us. We just like to be playing on the big stage on our home floor.”

Richmond took care of business with a dominant second half against the Highlanders.

Leading by five at halftime, the Red Devils quickly extended that to double digits with an 11-2 run to start the third quarter.

By the end of the third, it was 54-35 Richmond. That lead grew even more in the fourth quarter.

RHS scored the first 15 points of the final frame, sprinting to a 69-35 lead before Floyd Central ended its scoring drought with 2:51 remaining in the game.

“It was another team win,” said RHS coach Joe Luce, whose team improved to 7-0. “It was a little bit different, not quite as pretty as maybe we would have liked in the first half. We turned it into a track meet, got up and down the floor.

“Second half we came out, played more of a standard man-to-man, half-court, ball pressure, but locked down on key players. I thought it was an outstanding defensive effort.”

Mike Tillman poured in a game-high 21 points for RHS, while Davious Webster scored 11 to go with four rebounds.

Webster also went 7-of-8 from the free-throw line, and helped direct the offense when fellow guard Joel Okafor was whistled for a third foul early in the second quarter.

“Last night was the best game Davious Webster played. Tonight he backed it up and did the same thing,” Luce said.

While Tillman and Webster were the only two Devils in double figures, contributions came from up and down the lineup.

Okafor and Devin Thomas netted eight points each. Abdul Shabazz and Kendal Baker both scored six. Zach Lett grabbed a team-high six rebounds — and wrestled a rebound away from three Floyd Central players at one point.

“They were an aggressive team, so we had to fight for all of our rebounds tonight,” Lett said. “We made sure we boxed out and did everything we can. We can’t let them get any offensive rebounds.”

Added Rader: “I feel like the defense is what brought our offense and it got us going. It’s important to bring energy to get our whole team going.”

Myles Ervin led Floyd Central with 17 points, all in the first half.

Jeffersonville, Richmond’s semifinal foe, advanced by winning a 76-74 nailbiter against Norwell to improve to 6-1.

“I think at the end of the day it’ll be turnovers, ball handling,” Luce said of today’s semifinal matchup. “If we don’t attack the rim and we think we’ll make the same percentage of 3s we have in the first two games, we’re crazy. Because you’re going to be tired, mentally you’re going to be a little bit different. All of those elements, it just better be a complete game.

“Turnovers are going to be key. I think easy baskets will be the big key as far as how many we can get as far as giving up. All the little things are going to play into (today).”

Jeffersonville was last year’s tournament runner-up. Columbus North has won the past two championships.

The final is at 7:30 tonight. Play at Tiernan Center begins at 9:30 a.m.

“We just have to keep the momentum going,” Lett said.

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